Walthers - Gold Line™ Mark III Flexi-Van Flatcar w/Two Trailers -- Undecorated - HO
Item Number: 932-3920
You Pay: $37.84
You Save: 36%
PLEASE NOTE: As these cars are the correct prototype length, a minimum 24" radius is recommended for operation.
Flexi-Vans Traveled In Freight & Passenger Consists
* All-New Tooling * Includes Two Road-Specific Trailers * Use on Freight or Passenger Trains
Walthers Gold Line Freight Cars
* Fully Assembled * Metal RP-25 Wheels * Knuckle Couplers * Razor-Sharp Paint and Lettering * Modeler-Installed Grab Irons Included
As trailer-on-flat-car (TOFC) service evolved in the late 50s, many roads began trying to cut costs, opening the door to new ideas. Among these was the Flexi Van system, first tested by the New York Central in 1957. Designed to speed loading and unloading, the design used a special turntable (mounted on a standard flat car for testing), and a 36' trailer with a removable wheel assembly (bogie). In operation, the trailer was first aligned with the turntable and backed into place. The bogie was then unlocked and the trailer slid aboard. Once in position, a pin locked the trailer to the turntable, which was turned to the loaded position using the on-board hydraulics. The successful test car paved the way for the first production models in 1958. These were low profile skeleton cars, designed to meet clearance restriction on the NYC and carry two trailer units. Simple pivoting turntables replaced the complex and expensive hydraulic units. Early cars handled only 36' units, but as 40' was quickly becoming the standard length for highway trailers, later models carried a 36 and a 40' unit; cars built from 1961 to 1968 carried two 40' units. On later cars designed to handle 40' bodies, the turntables were moved to the ends and required the services of a specialized terminal tractor. These short wheelbase rigs had a retractable front wheel to simplify lining the truck and trailer with the turntable, and a large push pole provided the extra reach needed to spin the trailer into place. Lighter and lower than standard TOFC cars, the unique design proved well suited for high-speed operation and many cars were rebuilt so they could be moved in both freight and passenger service. Other roads showed some interest in the system, including ATSF, CB&Q, IC, MILW, WP and more. Although intended for most types of freight, the system eventually proved quite popular for handling mail. Although successful, the system had its limits. Snow and ice caused turntable problems during winter months, and the special bogies had to be available at any point where units were off-loaded. The rapid rise of containers and the acceptance of industry-wide methods for moving trailers on flat cars soon pushed Flexi Van service into the pages of history.
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